Belfast Telegraph

Successful dairy now launches range of ice-cream

By Clare Weir

A Co Tyrone dairy firm has launched a new range of ice-cream.

Already one of the new products from Fivemiletown Creamery - a strawberry and balsamic cheesecake ice cream - has been nominated for a global award for innovation at an industry event in Oslo, Norway.

The new products have been created by Steve Giles as part of the latest stage in a diversification programme aimed at expanding the business further and ensuring high returns for around 70 Northern Ireland dairy farmers, who supply milk to the company.

The new range is being targeted initially at foodservice clients in Northern Ireland and the Republic through the company's existing distribution channels.

Established in 1898 as farmer-owned co-operative, Fivemiletown Creamery currently employs around 90 people and has seen sales of speciality cheeses increase five-fold in the past two years.

The creamery now supplies award-winning soft cheeses to major retailers in Great Britain, the Republic, other parts of Europe, the US and Asia, where it recently secured a contract for its cheese range from Dairy Farm International in Hong Kong, one of Asia's biggest retailers. In addition to soft cheeses, it produces a range of creamy cheddars.

Marketing manager Peter Dunlop said that moving into new product areas was a logical step for the company.

"As well as our new cheese products, we saw an opportunity to make greater use of the increasing levels of milk we are attracting because of our commitment to ensure the highest returns possible to our suppliers in Tyrone, Fermanagh and other parts," he said.

"We were also encouraged to explore opportunities in ice cream by many existing customers, particularly in foodservice and catering. The ice cream was test marketed with focus groups and key clients, producing enthusiastic feedback. We've since been encouraged by initial orders that we've received."